12 Monkeys: Will You Hop on Syfy's Twisted Ride Through Time?

12 Monkeys Series Premiere Recap Syfy

A dirty, disheveled, possibly deranged man accosts you in a parking lot and demands that you help him rewrite history that hasn’t even happened yet. What’s your move?

That’s the question Dr. Cassandra Railly (Suits‘ Amanda Schull) finds herself contemplating — under duress — within the first few minutes of Syfy’s newest drama 12 Monkeys.

In a moment, we’ll want to know what you thought of the premiere. But first, here’s a brief review of how the hour played out.

12 Monkeys follows the broad strokes of the 1995 Terry Gilliam movie on which it’s based, with a few tweaks to keep it fresh. Cassie Railly is a doctor (a virologist this time; when Madeleine Stowe played her in the film, she was a psychiatrist) who’s built a reputation as an expert on viral containment.

We see Cassie giving a speech on disease, calling her significant other (Nikita‘s Noah Bean) and then getting in her car — where a man claiming to be from the year 2043 hurls a name at her (“Leland Frost”) and demands to know who that person is.

Problem: Cassie has never heard the name he mentions. This causes the frustrated man, Cole (Nikita‘s Aaron Stanford), to realize that he’s been sent too far back in the past.

In the brief time Cole remains with Cassie, he informs her that a plague is going to start ravaging the world’s population in 2017 — and that Frost is a key player in the pandemic. As the pair run from the police, who’ve been summoned by her boyfriend, Cassie clearly thinks Cole is nuts… until he disappears completely while standing next to her.

Cut to a few years later: Cassie’s insistence on believing Cole’s claims, plus her search for the man he mentioned, has cost her her career and her relationship. But when he shows up at a prearranged meeting spot — still bleeding from the gunshot wound he incurred moments before for him/years before for her — she’s pretty much sold. (A cool “paradox” — or disturbance in the space-time continuum — he creates with her watch doesn’t hurt, either.)

Cole and Cassie embark on a plan to find and/or kill (depending whom you ask) this Leland Frost and thus prevent the sickness from decimating humanity. Their journey brings them to a fancy Washington, D.C. party… where Cole is within sneezing distance of the man in question (played by ubiquitous baddie Zeljko Ivanek)… but will seeing his mission through actually meet its intended goal? And who are these 12 Monkeys of which Frost speaks?

12 Monkeys takes the good stuff from the movie (an overriding sense of dread, a refusal to dumb things down for the viewer, characters for whom you can root) and builds upon it, creating a driving narrative that only occasionally confuses — in the best way possible — when skipping back and forth in time. Plus, Schull and Stanford are well matched as partners on the herculean task of saving humanity, which is a plus for those of us who’ve decided to skip around the timeline of human history with them.

Now it’s your turn. Grade the premiere via the poll below, then back up your pick in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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23 Comments
  1. Ian says:

    I loved it.

  2. GuessWhat says:

    I dug it! Gave it a “B” — and will be back for more!

  3. yurie says:

    Really poor considering I loved the movie.

  4. Dr. M says:

    Do the studios pad these polls? Weird.

  5. christopher bee says:

    Poorly executed and except Schull, Sukowa and Acevedo nothings get me excited about this Interpretation of one of the best SciFi Movies ever.

    I´d wished it would be good, but this Series is just cheap.

  6. James D says:

    Loved it. I didn’t expect to like it as the movie is sacred in my eyes but they managed IMO to make it fresh and engaging will definitely keep watching.

  7. Maryann says:

    Was hooked by the nine minute preview and was not disappointed by the first episode. I will definitely be back!

  8. John Jacob says:

    Surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I’m not looking for a movie remake so I didn’t view it through those eyes. The pacing was very good and I never felt “bored” from the first episode.

  9. Rook says:

    Does anyone know if it’s going to follow the movie? I haven’t seen it and don’t want any spoilers

  10. Since says:

    Just… Don’t think about the movie. I watched it as if it was original series and actually loved it. How many episodes were ordered?

  11. CourtTV says:

    It was really great and I’m very pleased with Nikita cast members reuniting.

  12. Rich Abey says:

    Haven’t watched the film but really enjoyed the premiere, mainly because it has something different from most sci-fi shows of recent years, and the excellent acting & chemistry between the leads helps too. I am already not liking this ‘army of the 12 Monkeys’ but plenty intrigued to know who the hell they are (the movie fans might know this but I am not going to spoil myself with that info).

  13. puck says:

    I’ll try one more episode. It was boring.

  14. Joey Padron says:

    liked first episode a lot, it’s so good. looking forward to watch more episodes.

  15. Phantom says:

    Really enjoyed the premiere……the chemistry between the two leads is great. Never saw the movie so that wont spoil the plot for me as I don’t know what to expect. Cant wait for more episodes.

  16. diane says:

    I really enjoyed it. I wasn’t even a fan of the movie. I recommended it to family and friends who also liked it.

  17. suzyku says:

    We really enjoyed this show, enough to set our DVR for the next episode anyway!

  18. doris says:

    I love this show.

  19. If you’re lovin’ 12 Monkeys & would hate for it to be canceled. Spread the word on social media and join us Fridays at 9/8c on Twitter for some live-tweeting fun!